Obituary: Ruth Helen Birky

Ruth Helen Birky

February 9, 1926 – October 7, 2023

Ruth Helen (Gerig) Birky, 97, of Vanderhoof, British Columbia, Canada, and more recently of Albany and Lebanon, Oregon, died on October 7, 2023, at The Oaks of Lebanon. Ruth was the daughter of Christian Conrad and Ida Ellen (Boshart) Gerig, and was born on February 9, 1926, in a house that still stands near Cottonwoods, a few miles east of Albany, Oregon. She attended Lakeview School at Cottonwoods as did her father years earlier. Ruth and her husband of 69 years, Dale Amon Birky, were married near Albany at her home church, Fairview Mennonite, on May 14, 1944.
Dale and Ruth then resided in Enumclaw, Washington, until he completed his Civilian Public Service military service obligation and then in Spring 1946 moved back to Albany. In 1948 they purchased a farm on Fish Hatchery Road (Scio) where they lived until moving to Kamloops, and then Vanderhoof, British Columbia (BC), Canada in 1966. In later years, they enjoyed “snowbirding” to their winter home at Sky Valley Resort near Desert Hot Springs, California. Following Dale’s death earlier that year, in August 2013 Ruth moved to Mennonite Village in Albany and later to The Oaks at Lebanon.
Ruth and her husband Dale were charter members of Lebanon Mennonite Church. On moving to Vanderhoof, they were involved in the ministries of Northside Mennonite Church. For nearly forty years they served with The Gideons International in their mission of distributing Bibles locally and around the world.
Ruth is survived by a sister, Laura Rhodes of Longview, Washington; a brother Dean (Nadine) Gerig of Lebanon; six children: Nathan (Jo Ann) of Lebanon; Marlon (Norma) of Coaldale, Alberta; Lila Glenister – Amaranth, Ontario; Lorraine Baker – Blackpine Lake, BC; Glen (Helen) – Vanderhoof, BC; and Lynda Wainwright of Brooks, Alberta; twenty-four grandchildren and twenty-seven great-grandchildren survive her as well. She was preceded in death by husband Dale; her parents; Gerig brothers – Irvin, Clarence, and Norman; two sisters, Evelyn, and Hazel (Eby); and granddaughter Janette.
The family wishes to especially thank Angie Kutsch and The Oaks at Lebanon staff for their caring and loving assistance given Ruth these past six years.
A memorial service will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, October 14 at Fairview Mennonite Church, Albany, Oregon. Interment with family attending will be at the Fairview Mennonite Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given in Ruth’s name to The Gideons International (www.gideons.org/donate).
AAsum-Dufour Funeral Home is handling the arrangements (www.aasum-dufour.com).